Jerusalem, neuter plural

Joe A. Friberg JoeFriberg at
Thu Sep 9 16:27:32 EDT 1999

Good data.  I have not reviewed all in detail, but note one correction at
Gen 15.20.

With all the toponyms that you pulled up that follow this pattern, I wonder
whether these are dual at all.  This could be simply a 'toponymic'
denominative suffix (cf. the 'gentilic' ending /-I/), homophonous w/ the
dual, but bearing no semantic relation to it (except what folk-etymolygies
have attributed to it ex post facto).

(Note that the most common 'duals' (excepting undisputed duals of body parts
and numbers) are MAYIM 'waters' and $AMAYIM 'heavens', which are also
'tracts of space'.)

For this 'toponymic' ending could be shown to be related to the dual, there
would have to be historical evidence to that end, such as in each case
showing how the place is associated w/ two of something/all sorts of things.
I will toss out what is probably a feable hypothesis: could this be
functioning like our English use of 'New X': New Haven, New York...?  I have
no evidence nor the resources, but it might be another lead to try out.
This hypothesis does in some way dovetail w/ the folk etymology of
Jerushalayim relating to two Jerusalems, the New Jerusalem being the
heavenly, but how Jewish (Masoretic) is this idea?

Reviewing Gibson _Davidson's Syntax_ (p.18-20: sec. 20(a), sec. 21, Rem. 1)
and Waltke O'Connor (p. 118, 7.3d) produces comments that many duals have no
explanation, citing toponymic examples in particular.

Joe Friberg

----- Original Message -----
From: <peter_kirk at>
To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>

> I have done a quick look at LXX renderings of other Hebrew names which
> appear to be dual in form. I have only included case where the LXX is
> a recognisable transliteration of the Hebrew, in a verse which my
> software recognises as parallel (it became confused in Jeremiah).
> Reference       RSV                     LXX
> GEN 14:5        Ashterothkarnaim        Astarwq Karnain
> GEN 15:20 ++    Rephaim                 Rafain
This is not dual form due to presence of 'aleph between /a/ and /i/:
> GEN 38:14 +     Enaim                   Ainan
> GEN 41:52 ++    Ephraim                 Efraim
> NUM 32:37 ++    Kiriathaim              Kariaqaim
> NUM 33:46 +     Almondiblathaim         Gelmwn Deblaqaim
> JOS 13:6        Misrephothmaim          Maserefwqmaim
> JOS 13:26 +     Mahanaim                Maanain
> JOS 13:30 +     Mahanaim                Maanaim
> JOS 15:36       Shaaraim                Sakarim
> JOS 21:22       Kibzaim                 Kabsaim
> JDG 3:8 ++      Cushanrishathaim        Cousarsaqwm
> 2SA 2:8 ++      Mahanaim                Manaem
> 2SA 4:3         Gittaim                 Geqqaim
> 2SA 13:34       Horonaim                Wrwnhn
> 2SA 17:24 ++    Mahanaim                Manaim
> 2KI 17:24 ++    Sepharvaim              Sepfarouain
> 1CH 2:30 +      Appaim                  Affaim
> 1CH 4:23        Netaim                  Nataim
> 1CH 8:8         Shaharaim               Saarhm
> 2CH 3:6         Parvaim                 Farouaim
> 2CH 11:9        Adoraim                 Adwraim
> 2CH 16:4        Abelmaim                Abelmain
> EZR 2:57        Pocherethhazzebaim      Faceraq-asebwin
> NEH 7:59        Pocherethhazzebaim      Facaraq uioi Sabaim
> ISA 15:5        Horonaim                Arwniim
> ISA 15:8        Eglaim                  Agallim
> ISA 36:19 +     Sepharvaim              Sepfarim
> EZK 47:10       Eneglaim                Ainagalim
> EZK 47:16       Sibraim                 Sebraim
> HOS 1:3         Diblaim                 Debhlaim
> Summary: The majority of Hebrew dual form names are rendered as -aim
> or -ain in LXX. There is some inconsistency, especially in the
> renderings of "Mahanaim" (which is also often translated as
> "Parembolai") Some have shortened endings such as -an. Only once is
> there an ending -hm (cf. Greek Yerusalhm). There are no cases of an
> upsilon corrseponding to the Hebrew -AYI-, and there are no cases of a
> suffixed -a or any other declinable Greek ending. This suggests that
> it is very unlikely that the Greek form HIEROSOLUMA is derived from a
> Hebrew dual ending.
> Peter Kirk

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